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the gay and festive board, which was constantly replenished from midnight to early dawn, the most brilliant sallies of wit, the most agreeable conversation, the most interesting anecdotes, interspersed with grave political discussions and acute logical reasoning on every conceivable subject, proceeded from the soldiers, scholars, statesmen, poets and men of pleasure, who, when the 'house was up,' and balls and parties at an end, delighted to finish their evening with a little supper, and a good deal of hazard at old Crockey's. The tone of the club was most excellent. A most gentlemanlike feeling prevailed, and none of the rudeness, familiarity and ill breeding which disgrace some of the minor clubs of the present day, would have been tolerated for a

moment.

"Though not many years have elapsed since the time of which I write, the supper table had a very different appearance from what it would present, did the club now exist. Beards were completely unknown, and the rare mustachios were only worn by officers of the Household Brigade, or hussar regiments. Stiff white neckcloths, blue coats and brass buttons, rather short waisted white waistcoats, and tremendously embroidered shirt fronts, with gorgeous studs of great value, were considered the right thing. A late deservedly popular Colonel in the Guards used to give Storr & Mortimer £25 a year, to furnish him with a new set of studs every Saturday night during the London season.

"The great foreign diplomatists, Prince Talleyrand, Count Pozzo di Borgo, General Alava, the Duke of Palmella, Prince Esterhazy, the French, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Austrian ambassadors, and all persons of distinction and eminence who arrived in England, belonged to Crockford's as a matter of course; but many rued the day when they became members of that fascinating but dangerous coterie. The great Duke himself, always rather a friend of the dandies, did not disdain to appear now and then at this charming club; whilst the late Lord Raglan, Lord Anglesey, Sir Hussey Vivian, and many more of our Peninsula and

I

Waterloo heroes, were constant visitors. The two great novelists of the day, who have since become great statesmen, Disraeli and Bulwer Lytton, displayed at that brilliant supper-table, the one his sable, the other his auburn curls; there Horace Twiss made proof of an appetite, and Edward Montague of a thirst, which astonished all beholders; whilst the bitter jests of Sir Joseph Copley, Colonel Armstrong, and John Wilson Croker, and the brilliant wit of Alvanley, were the delight of all present, and their bon mots were the next day retailed all over England.

"In the play-room might be heard the clear ringing voice of that agreeable reprobate, Tom Duncombe, as he cheerfully called 'Seven,' and the powerful hand of the vigorous Sefton in throwing for a ten. There might be noted the scientific dribbling of a four by 'King' Allen, the tremendous backing of nines and fives by Ball Hughes and Auriol, the enormous stakes played for by Lords Lichfield and Chesterfield, George Payne, Sir St Vincent Cotton, D'Orsay, and George Anson, and, above all, the gentlemanly bearing and calm and unmoved demeanour, under losses or gains, of all the men of that generation.

"The old fishmonger himself, seated snug and sly at his desk in the corner of the room, watchful as the dragon that guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides, would only give credit to good and approved signatures. Who that ever entered that dangerous little room can ever forget the large green table, with the croupiers, Page, Darking, and Bacon, with their suave manners, sleek appearance, stiff white neck cloths, and the almost miraculous quickness and dexterity with which they swept away the money of the unfortunate punters when the fatal cry of 'Deuce ace,' 'Aces,' or 'Sixes out,' was heard in answer to the caster's bold cry of Seven,' or 'Nine,' or 'Five's the main.'

"O noctes cænæque deûm! but the brightest medal has its reverse, and after all the wit and gaiety and excitement of the night, how disagreeable the waking up, and how very unpleasant the sight of the little card, with its numerous

figures marked down on the debtor side in the fine bold hand of Mr Page. Alas, poor Crockey's! shorn of its former glory, has become a sort of refuge for the destitute, a cheap dining-house.1 How are the mighty fallen! Irish buckeens, spring captains, 'welchers' from Newmarket, and suspicious looking foreigners, may be seen swaggering after dinner through the marble halls, and up that gorgeous staircase where once the chivalry of England loved to congregate; and those who remember Crockford's in all its glory, cast, as they pass, a look of unavailing regret at its dingy walls, with many a sigh to the memory of the pleasant days they passed there, and the gay companions and noble gentlemen who have long since gone to their last home."

One more story about Crockford's, told by Sir George Chetwynd, and I have done with this subject. Speaking of Mr George Payne, he says: "Many were the stories he told of his early life, of his hunting, of the enormous sum he lost on the Leger before he came of age, of his never seeing daylight for a whole week in one winter, owing to being challenged by a friend to play a certain number of games at écarté, which resulted in their playing every night for six days till seven o'clock in the morning. Of course it was dark then at that season, and he used not to get up till 3.30 to 4 o'clock. He was fond of describing Crockford's when the conversation turned on hazard or cards, and used to speak of the lavish way in which the old fishmonger supplied his guests (or victims) with the finest hot-house peaches, grapes, and every conceivable delicacy that could be obtained for money, and all this gratis. A number of men who did not care to play at hazard, used purposely to lose a hundred or two a year at the tables, to have the pleasure of dining and supping with their friends, who all flocked to the magnificent rooms, which, at night, presented the appearance of a

1 After Crockford's death the club-house was sold. It was re-decorated in 1849, and opened as "The Military, Naval, and County Service Club," but this only lasted till 1851, when it was turned into a dining-house, called the "Wellington."

2 "Racing Reminiscences." Lon. 1891.

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GAMBLING IN ENGLAND

luxurious club. Mr Payne used to narrate that, after dinner, he would sometimes stroll round there early, and, finding hardly anyone there except Crockford at his desk, used to sit down and play a game of backgammon with him, both being fine players."

CHAPTER IX

Hells in the Quadrant, 1833-Smith v. Bond-Police powers-" Confessions of a Croupier."

THE West End of London literally swarmed with gambling houses, for the most part of a very different description from Crockford's, as may be seen by the two following quotations from The Times, Jan. 24, 1833:—

"THE HELLS IN THE QUADRANT.

"Those seats of vice (the gaming-houses) which for some time past have existed in the Quadrant, appear to be done up, as, since Saturday, not one of them has been opened. Since the five persons have been apprehended, the visitors have been extremely scarce; nor was their confidence restored, even by the proprietors having the chain up at the street door, coupled with a fellow's being employed at each of the hells, to patrol before the different establishments, for the purpose of giving the requisite information as to who sought admission into those dens of destruction. Although a very active search has been made for the purpose of ascertaining what has become of Daly, the clerk of the Athenæum Club-house, who left that establishment on the 8th instant, no trace had been found of him-one of the many lamentable cases of loss of character and ruin which overtake those who suffer themselves to be lured into those houses. Daly, who enjoyed the confidence of the whole of the members, was suddenly missed on the above day. On looking over his papers, a diary was found, from which it appeared that he had lost large sums of money at No. 60, and, as it has since been ascertained he was there on the

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